A terrific narrative ruined by an astonishingly lazy read. I have read this collective biography in its printed form, & planned to listen to this audio version out of fondness for the story. The book is read by narrator Annie Wauters in a hoarse, tired, monotone voice. Her shortness of breath when grappling with long passages is unsettling after a few hours. How anyone can sleep-walk through such an enthralling family story is perplexing. One senses that the reader tackled 18 hours of reading in a single, sluggish sitting, and gives the impression of not paying attention to the content, rather simply 'getting through it'. Nothing about the read is specific to the material. The vocal tone does not vary, much less convey drama or tension. Sentences are awkwardly phrased, as if being encountered for the first time. Had I not read the book in print form, the logic of some passages would have been lost in the dullness of the read. I honestly, around the three hour mark, began to worry for the health of the breathless, at times near-wheezing reader. Additionally, I cannot understand the inappropriate selection of an American reader for a story of a family of women who define Englishness. It is tonally jarring, on top of the exhausting performance. That this is a book about a group of women renowned for their exuberance and verbal wit, read by a narrator who personifies fatigue, is disappointing. If a listener is expected to invest 18+ hours of time, the producers of the audio book should be more interested in honoring the story with a more engaging read.
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